Friday, February 28, 2014

It's a Double-Caffeine Morning: What is ... Editor?

Up with the rainstorm and noticed the white blossoms on the trees outside of my window ... beautiful! It's spring or wait! I think it's really winter. Oh wait ... no ... it's spring! LOL ... well, that just shows how confusing the weather in California has been these days.

So let's move on and discuss something that might actually matter to you. Last night we had a small meeting of Writers Who Mean Business, and we had an interesting discussion about publishers. I have to share something: I find it shocking how many (how shall we say) "low-rent" publishers exist in the business. I can't tell you how many times authors show me books just loaded with mistakes. In the early days of 3L Publishing we faced some of these challenges, so I do understand. But in business you cannot create a business, especially a publishing business, around lack of quality. Your "low-rent" publishing mistakes catch up with you in the form of a bad reputation.

Let's discussing the art of editing. Did you know there are many types of editors? Look on the masthead of a magazine, what do you see? I'm going to walk you through the types of editors.

Editor in Chief or Executive Editor -- this person typically holds what I'll call the overall "flavor" of the content. He or she is in charge of the overall "themes" in the magazines. Depending on the size of the publication, the editor in chief typically isn't involved with the day-to-day, but holds a more 180-degree overview of the publication and what goes into it. The editor in chief often works with the publisher on the business side, working on budgets and business issues.

Editor -- the editor is more hands on and usually edits stories from a more 180 degree overview, too. The editor will look more at the structure and organization of the story. The editor may or may not assign stories (depends on the size of the publication). The editor does major revisions and rewrites when necessary.

Managing editor -- the managing editor typically does what his/her title sounds like -- manages. The managing editor may or may not assign stories or may work in conjunction with the editor to assign stories. A managing editor on a larger publication usually doesn't edit. The managing editor is like a project manager and helps move the parts of the publication between editorial and publication. The person manages relationships with writers, editors and production.

Copy editor -- perhaps the hardest job and the least appreciated or valued. The copy editor has the last look at the nuts and bolts AKA words, grammar, punctuation, spelling, usage and style. The copy editor must be adept at the details and possess a high level of concentration. The copy editor often fact checks, too. A copy editor's job can be thankless -- one mistake and the poor copy editor gets flogged. And it's not easy to produce a publication without a single mistake.

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